Wed | Dec 19, 2018

Wheatley reaffirms government’s support for net neutrality

Published:Thursday | December 14, 2017 | 4:21 PM

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Andrew Wheatley has reaffirmed the government's full support for the principles of net neutrality.

Net neutrality principles dictate that all Internet traffic should be treated equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication, the Minister said in a release today.

The position of the Government of Jamaica is clear as it relates to net neutrality,” he said.

“We are in full support of the principles of net neutrality and as a developing economy we will apply the rules of net neutrality in a way that ensures that we meet our economic growth priorities”. Dr Wheatley said, noting that  “media or telecommunications companies that do business in Jamaica must be prepared to embrace an environment that supports net neutrality.”

His statement came ahead of a pending vote today by the United States Federal Communications Commission to repeal net neutrality protections implemented under former President Barack Obama.

Dr. Wheatley opined that “there seems to be some confusion surrounding the application of net neutrality rules, where we often compare the approaches of the US and the EU to what prevails in the Caribbean.”

He said “it is important for each Caribbean nation and the region as a whole to determine how these rules work best for their economic goals and the goals of the region respectively.”

The Minister said that “as we take Jamaica towards a truly digital society and one in which we become greater creators and innovators of technology as opposed to mere consumers, it is imperative that we adopt policies that ensure that all of our local businesses and entrepreneurs grow and contribute to the development of our local and regional economies.”

While acknowledging the stated concerns of media and telecommunications operations and their belief that net neutrality may cause a reduction in investments in infrastructure and innovation in the region, Dr Wheatley called on operators to “reassess your business models and look at new ways of leveraging the investments they have made in their networks.”

He added that “in the dynamic environment that now prevails, media and telecommunications operators must also become more innovative and think outside of the box.”